August 26, 2009

Laundry Detergent

I LOVE this homemade laundry detergent!

Cast of Characters:
Laundry Detergent

Borox, Washing Soda, Octagon Soap, Essential Oil (lavender)

*Update #1: You can make your own washing soda by baking your baking soda in a 250degree oven for 1 hour.
*Update #2: Since originally writing this post, I have switched to plain old Ivory soap. It's cheaper and I'm happier with the results.

I had a Whittling Chip card carrying Cub Scout shave the bar of soap for me. I've seen the recipe done with ZOTE, FelsNaptha, and Kirk's Castile soaps. I could find none of those. I did find Octagon at Food Lion. It smells nice (sort of lemon grassy).

Laundry Soap

We dumped our shavings into a 5 gallon bucket and poured a large pot of boiling water over top and stirred until the soap was completely melted.

Then we mixed in 2 cups of washing soda and 2 cups of borox and stirred. It got nice and fizzy.

The boys poured another pot of cold water into the bucket.
Laundry Detergent

My stirrer.

Laundry Soap

While it was cooling I added about 15 drops of the essential oil. I might have been just a tad more generous than that...I'm married to a smells man.
Laundry Soap

Then we filled the bucket the rest of the way to the top with cold water.

Then end result is about 5 gallons of really nice smelling laundry soap.

Expense Report:
$3.36 Borox (whitener and deoderizer)
$2.16 Washing Soda (dirt remover and deoderizer)
$.90 Octagon Soap (stain remover)
$6.42 Total to get started. I have enough Borox and washing soda to make 4 more 5 gallon batches. It comes to about 2 cents per load, if I only use 1 cup.

The essential oil, I already had. I *think* I spent about $5.00 on it, give or take, and used so little of it.

I have washed and dried our first load and it passed Leon's smell test. I would have added more lavender if it didn't.


  1. I'm so glad you tried this. I got all the 'ingredients'! On your picture there's 'baking soda'. I have 'washing soda'. Does it matter which one?

  2. I'm not really sure. I got this box on the laundry isle and it says sodium carbonate. Actual baking powder is sodium bicarbonate. Washing soda is what you need. I *think* I have the right stuff.

  3. Thanks! Yes, I checked my Washing Soda and it says contains sodium carbonate---do not swallow! :-) So for sure you used the right stuff. Only the box was confusing!

  4. LOL! I went and read the label again. Apparently I didn't read it closely enough in the store. This is what Wal*Mart had in the washing isle. I wasn't sure so I picked it up. It is sodium bicarbonate (baking soda like it says). Oh well, it seems to clean nicely just the same. :P

  5. Good to know! So both would work I guess! LOL Thanks for posting! You inspired me!

  6. I am laughing so hard. I made laundry detergent weeks ago and took pics with the idea that I might have to blog it so my sister could see how to do it.
    I don't have pics of cute kids in my laundry-detergent-making pictures though.
    And you even did the cost breakdown --- cool.

  7. Update:

    You can make your own washing soda by baking your baking soda at 250deg for 1 hour.


Your comments encourage me to keep blogging!